Walk Albina’s Black History

A Few Words About Walk Albina’s Black History

A black and white photo depicting the movement against racism.

Albina is a neighborhood located in North Portland, Oregon. For most of the 20th century, it was home to the majority of the city’s African American population. Located across the Willamette River from downtown Portland, Albina was once one of the fastest growing cities in Oregon until it was annexed by the City of Portland in July of 1891. The Albina neighborhood was a place where African American families could live and work until the start of World War II. The shipyards along the Columbia River and the draw of other war time jobs brought an influx of workers from around the country, giving significant rise to population between 1940 and 1945.

By the beginning of the 1950s, unable to find jobs in white businesses, residents began to open their own stores, restaurants and clubs to serve the African American community. In 1956 Albina was declared a blight, with least 60% of the housing considered to be sub-standard.

By the 1960’s, despite best efforts to rehabilitate structures, landlords in Albina began to evict tenants, demolish buildings, and sell off the land. By the 1970s, over half of that neighborhood’s black population was forced to relocate, leaving behind a neighborhood rich in history and cultural significance.

Join Dr. Andrea Lowgren and the students of Portland Community College’s History 251 Course—African-American History Since 1877—as they host a walking tour of six historic locations in the Albina neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. While on the walk, a short presentation will be given about each stop exploring the rich cultural history of the area and the individuals who lived there.

Where To Join?

The walk will begin and end at Dawson Park. It will be about 1 mile walking distance while visiting the following locations:

  • Dawson Park (start/end point)
  • Urban League of Portland
  • Harriet Tubman Middle School
  • Former site of the Fred Hampton Free Health Clinic
  • Vancouver Avenue Baptist Church
  • Former site of Van’s Olympic Jazz Club/LV’s Twelve-22

For more information, please take a look at the Walking Information page. If you have a question or comment, please contact me from the Contact page.

Image of Kee's Loaded Kitchen, a bussiness operated by Kiauna Nelson, an alumna of Portland Community College.

This year, 2018, join the walk and you'll get free cookies from our sponsor, Kiauna Nelson. She's an alumna of Portland Community College and the owner of Kee's #Loaded Kitchen.

For more information about Kiauna and Kee's #Loaded Kitchen, visit Walking Information page.

Portland Weather Forcast

*Please check the weather before going to the walk.


Site Information

This website is operated by Dr. Andrea Lowgren. She was born and raised in Napa, California and moved to Oregon in 1995 for a BA in History and Music with a minor in Spanish at Linfield College. She recieved her MA in Musicology from the University of Oregon and received her PhD in History in 2007 in Santa Cruz, California. She returned to Portland in order to teach full-time at Portland Community College.

This site is created as a means for people to find more information about the locations featured in Walk Albina’s Black History. The site also contains information about the walk, the writings of students about the walk and additional links and resources for more about the history of the Albina Neighborhood.